PARENTS  have expressed concerns about new unisex school toilet arrangements.

Little Lever School has introduced a row of standalone toilets in an open area for use by boys and girls at lunchtimes after dinner arrangements were changed at the start of the new academic year.

Headteacher Dominic McKeon has moved to reassure parents about any concerns they may have over safeguarding or privacy saying the doors fully covered the toilet cubicle and were equipped with sanitary facilities ­— but has said he will reconsider the arrangements of pupils using the same toilets if parents still feel concerned.

New toilets were built nearer the canteen after the school decided to split lunchtimes, as is common in many schools, with Years Seven and Eight having their dinner first before the other years go for lunch.

The school says the area is monitored by school staff.

Mr McKeon told The Bolton News: "We decided to have toilets closer to the canteen over lunchtime time so children were not having to walk to the other toilets which were on the other side of the school

and to stop others who are having their lessons from being disturbed."

He said the cubicles are fully enclosed with communal sinks outside.

Mr McKeon stressed the toilets were not in a cloakroom style area but in an open space rather like those some restaurants serving both sexes.

One parent has kept her daughter off school saying she is uncomfortable with the new toilet arrangements.

She said: "So many parents are not happy about this, I think it is disgusting. Girls don't want to use a toilet which a boy has been in, it's different at home because its your family. I'm also worried about girls and boys using the same toilets."

She added:"I am going to put my daughter into another school."

Her daughter said: "I feel uncomfortable using the toilets and I helped a young girl to find the toilets and she saw a young boy go in and didn't want to use them."

One person who contacted The Bolton News said: "My relative says she feels uncomfortable using the same toilets as boys."

Taking to Facebook, concerns were also raised about the lack of toilets for the numbers of children.

Some have contacted ward councillor Sean Hornby, who has written to the school.

He said: "All of the all issues that I have dealt with as an elected member and I have never had so many messages about an issue. I think the school should have told parents about this, parents are not happy. I think that the school has badly got this wrong and I think they should reverse this decision. Using the same toilets could make girls feel uncomfortable especially as they enter puberty and think there is a boy in the next cubicle and also the lack of toilets is leading to large queues."

Mr McKeon said that he would be talking to parents and seeking feedback and said he had shown the toilets to a concerned parent, who left reassured.

He said: "There is an option to put in a partition so boys use toilets on one side and the girls on the other side. That option is there and we will be monitoring feedback and speaking to parents."